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36                                      FLORA INPICA.
gret; hence the irresistible desire to rest contented with a
character, however bad, so long as it is obtained with diili-
sulty, and in the observer's opinion is tolerably constant. It
is strange that local naturalists cannot sec that the discovery
of a form uniting two otlfers they had previously thought, dis-
tinct, is much more important than that of a totally now
species, inasmuch as the correction of an error is a greater
boon to science thaii is a step i$ advance.
C. Geographical Distribution.
This, which is in very mapy respects the most interesting
branch of botany, has made very little real progress of late
years, owing to the confused state of Systematic Botany; for
we do not consider rudely cataloguing the ill-defined species
of limited areas, or loosely defining geographical region** by
the supposed prevalence of certain natural orders or forms of
vegetation, as calculated to advance directly the philosophy of
distribution, however useful such regions are to the beginner,
or such catalogues to the systematise
If we take India as the area for examination, we are met at
the outset by difficulties that plainly indicate the backward
state of Indian Botany, -Beginning with the first requirement
of the student of geographical distribution, we are literally
perfectly ignorant of the numerical value of a single imjx>rtimfc
Indian natural order of plants: turning to their numerical
proportions, there are no sufficient data for saying which of
the five largest order* in the vegetable kingdom ia the moot
abundant in India, viz. Leffuminota, Cowporita, Gramiwa, Qr~
chidea, or Itutoacem, no* in what climates each moot prevail*;
still less do we know how the important tribes of thcac na-
tural orders are distributed, or what physical features of tem-
perature, elevation, and moisture they indicate, or to what
otter floras their relative predominance allies that of India.
There i$ no work that pointedly indicates the natural orders
peculiar to India, and still leys the gcucrfc and species* With